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1114 Raritan Road
Clark, NJ 07066

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By Clark Podiatry Center
September 20, 2017
Tags: intoeing   bowlegged  

Every milestone that your baby achieves can feel like a miracle. However, with information overload from books, the Internet, and other parents, each new step can also feel daunting. What are the right things for parents to be doing to help promote their growth and development? Should babies be protected from harm or should they learn by trial and error?

In the case of babies that are transitioning from being immobile, to sitting, crawling (or maybe they’ll skip this), standing, and eventually, walking, there are many opinions about how babies should be handled. The following are some do’s and don’ts from a podiatric standpoint:

Do:

  • Allow them to go at their own pace. Each child is going to have his/her own pace of development. Forcing a child to try to sit or stand before (s)he is ready can be dangerous because of lack of muscle development. Babies will learn to keep their head up, roll from back to front, etc. as their muscles allow them to. The baby steps of muscle development can help them move to the next positions.
  • See what your baby can do, but only with your support and supervision. Does your baby like to “stand” while you support under the armpits? Contrary to some myths, this will not necessarily cause your baby to have bowlegs. If they cannot stand “standing”, their legs will give way and they will stop standing (which is why you should always be supporting and supervising).
  • Allow your baby to learn to walk on their bare feet at home. It helps with developing balance and coordination, which rigid shoes can prevent. Also, their exposed toes can also help them grip the floor.
  • Pay attention to the way that they walk or stand. If you notice that they are bowlegged, intoeing, or walking on their tiptoes, check to see if things get worse or not. Many children may start out walking this way, but can outgrow them as their legs and feet continue to develop.

Don’t:

  • Don’t let children walk around barefoot outside or in the cold. As long as they are flexible and can grip slippery surfaces, shoes are better than going barefoot in public places since they can pick up diseases or accidentally cut their feet when not at home.
  • Don’t use a walking assistant or a walker device to teach babies how to walk. These devices can support and encourage walking while they strengthen lower leg muscles, but they do not strengthen upper leg muscles or hip muscles. In essence they are not supporting their own weight, so they do not learn to properly walk on their own.

If you have further questions about your baby’s development with regards to their feet and standing or walking, it’s best to consult our board-certified podiatrist, Dr. Brandon Macy. If you are concerned that your toddler has walking issues and has not grown out of them by the age of 3, they may need some additional support and treatment. We are here for you at Clark Podiatry Center and The New Jersey Children’s Foot Health Institute. Make an appointment to see us today at our Clark, NJ office.

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1114 Raritan Road
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Podiatrist - Clark, Dr. Brandon Macy, 1114 Raritan Road, Clark NJ, 07066 732-382-3470